Apple Butterscotch Baked French Toast with Idaho® Potatoes

This Stuffed Baked French Toast made from homemade potato bread (made with Idaho® potatoes of course) and served with apple butterscotch sauce is the perfect breakfast or brunch recipe for your Valentine.

The bread, which stays nice and soft for days, gets cut into 1½” thick slices, trimmed into hearts, and then stuffed with a creamy, shredded apple butterscotch filling. It's then topped with toasted pecans and apple butterscotch syrup. It all looks very fancy, but none of the components are difficult to make, and it makes an impressive treat!

There are a lot of steps to this recipe, but the bread needs to be made several days in advance so that it can dry out suitably. You can also make the apple filling, the French toast batter, and the butterscotch sauce a day or two ahead.

Note: the bread needs to sit out 2-3 days so make sure you plan ahead!

Read Jenni's full post here.


For the Potato Bread (makes 2 loaves):

  • 2 medium-sized Idaho® russet potatoes
  • 2½ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 ounces (about ¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 11 ounces (1¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons) water from cooking the potato, cooled to warm
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ounces (about ¼ cup) neutral vegetable oil
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 30 ounces (about 6½ cups) bread flour

For the Shredded Apple Butterscotch Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  • Heavy pinch of salt
  • 1 apple, your favorite sweet-tart variety
  • 2 ounces (¼ block) cream cheese

For the French Toast Batter:

  • 2 cups whole milk (may substitute 2%)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • Heavy pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

For the Apple Butterscotch Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • Heavy pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups apple cider

To Form, Stuff, and Bake the French Toast:

  • 1 loaf of potato bread, allowed to sit at room temperature wrapped in a lint-free towel for 2-3 days
  • Toasted pecans, optional
  • Serrated bread knife
  • Heart template cut from parchment and sized to be just a little bit smaller than the sliced bread


For the Potato Bread:

  1. Wash, peel, cube, and boil the potato in plain unsalted water for about 12 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes over a bowl to catch the water. Measure out 11 oz of potato water and set aside to cool down.
  3. Mash the potato and measure 6.5 oz (about 1 cup, slightly packed down). Save the rest of the potato for another use.
  4. Add all the potato bread ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  5. Mix on low speed to incorporate all the ingredients.
  6. Beat on medium-low speed for 3 minutes.
  7. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is very shiny, smooth, and stretchy. NOTE: The dough is pretty sticky, so a lot of it will remain stuck in the bottom of the bowl. The sides will mostly clear of dough. When it’s ready, it should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl in sheets.
  8. Once smooth and supple, scrape the bowl down into a compact ball shape using an oiled spatula.
  9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 16 hours. The dough will be about doubled in size after refrigeration.
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into two equal pieces. To be completely accurate, I weigh the whole amount of dough and divide by 2.
  11. Press each piece firmly onto the counter to release as much of the trapped gases as you can.
  12. Shape into a rectangle—it doesn’t have to be perfect—of about 10” wide and 15” tall.
  13. Spray two 9x5" bread pans lightly with cooking spray. Starting from a short end, roll each half of the dough tightly into a log. Press from either end of the log to fit it in one of the bread pans.
  14. Repeat with the second piece of dough, placing it in the second bread pan. Spray the tops with pan spray.
  15. Cover and let rise at room temperature until the dough rises above the top of the pans by about an inch. This could take a long time since your dough is starting out refrigerated, so plan for at least 3-4 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  16. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  17. Bake the loaves for 30 minutes.
  18. Rotate the loaves 180°, tent with foil, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the loaves reach 200°F with an instant-read thermometer. Loaves will be deeply golden brown.
  19. Allow loaves to cool in the pans for 15 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Shredded Apple Butterscotch Filling:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Once melted, add the brown sugar and salt.
  3. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the butterscotch comes together smoothly, darkens in color, and starts to smell like caramel. You may see a few wisps of smoke.
  4. Remove from the heat and immediately add the shredded apple. The apples will start to give off liquid almost immediately, and the butterscotch may harden up in the pan.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until all the butterscotch has melted. The liquid will be very thin because of all the juices from the apple.
  6. Continue to boil until the juices reduce down to a thick, syrupy texture.
  7. Cut the cream cheese into bits and stir into the apple mixture. Cool and then chill.

For the French Toast Batter:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until evenly combined. If you’d like, you can strain it to get out any egg bits, but it is not strictly necessary.
  2. Pour into a shallow, flat-bottomed dish like an 8x8” pan or similar. Refrigerate until ready to make your French toast.

For the Apple Butterscotch Sauce:

  1. In a pan that’s much larger than you think you need, melt the butter.
  2. When the butter is mostly melted, add the brown sugar and salt.
  3. Cook together over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the butterscotch comes together into a smooth and bubbling sauce. It will darken in color and start to smell like caramel. You may see a few wisps of smoke.
  4. Remove the butterscotch from the heat and pour in the apple cider. It will sputter and boil and the butterscotch will harden into candy.
  5. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the butterscotch has all melted.
  6. Bring to a boil and boil until reduced to a thick syrup, stirring frequently. The mixture will darken and thicken and sometimes it will rise up in the pan. If it does and threatens to boil over, just remove the pan from the heat and let it calm down. Continue cooking the sauce down until you have about ½ cup of sauce.
  7. Pour into a heat-safe measuring cup and allow to cool to warm. At this point, you can refrigerate the sauce until you’re ready to use it.

To Form, Stuff, and Bake the French Toast

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a half sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment. Set aside where it's still convenient to the oven.
  2. With your serrated knife, slice off each heel of the bread. Cut the remaining loaf into 5 even pieces of about 1½” each.
  3. Fold a 6” square piece of parchment in half and hold it on top of one of the slices of bread. Mark where the top and bottom are, and then draw a half heart (remember when you did this as kids?!) sized to just fit inside the crust of the bread.
  4. Cut out the heart and use this as a template to cut each thick slice of bread into a heart shape. Simply place the heart template so it’s centered on the slice and then cut straight down all around using the template as your guide.
  5. When done, trim up any ragged-looking edges.
  6. Again using your serrated knife, cut a pocket halfway down the side of each thick slice, and cutting to within about an inch of the other side. Don’t make the cut at the top of the heart where the “bow” is, but along one side to keep the heart shape as evident as possible.
  7. Gently fill each pocket with a heaping tablespoon of apple filling, tucking it inside away from the edge as much as you can without tearing the heart.
  8. Soak each heart for in the French toast batter for about 45 seconds per side, pressing down gently with a spatula to encourage the custard to soak into the heart.
  9. Pick up each heart with a slotted spatula and let drain over the batter for a few seconds.
  10. Place each filled and soaked heart, prettiest side down, onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake until the internal temperature of each heart is 165°F, about 30 minutes. The hearts will have puffed up some and will look dry on the top. Some of the custard may have run out and made little “feet” at the edges of your hearts. That’s okay.
  12. Remove the French toast from the oven, and use a sharp knife or the edge of a metal spatula to cut away the little “feet.” Turn them over to the pretty side again. They should be a beautiful golden brown.
  13. Place each heart on a plate, and serve with the apple butterscotch sauce and (optional) chopped, toasted pecans.


Don’t hesitate to break this recipe down into manageable steps over 2-3 days. You can also use store-bought maple syrup rather than making the apple butterscotch sauce. And you don’t even have to stuff your French toast – just leave the filling out and slice the bread into about 1” slices. In that case, you’ll probably end up with about 7 hearts.

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Yield: 4-6

Jenni Field
Food Blogger
Pastry Chef Online

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